A $2.1 billion bill to fund the Capitol Police, National Guard and resettlement of Afghans who helped U.S. troops sailed through the Senate Thursday afternoon on a 98-0 vote.
The bill was brokered by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the two top lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee. The deal, which also provides funding for COVID-19-related measures around the Capitol complex, was reached amid reports that the Capitol Police was set to run out of money in the coming weeks.
National Guard troops are slated to decamp from Capitol Hill this week, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress amid fears of further unrest after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection.
Personnel will fully depart the U.S. Capitol grounds this week, military officials and congressional aides said Monday, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress allegedly over fears of unrest after the Jan. 6 reported “attempted insurrection” by former President Trump supporters, Politico reported.
The Brooklyn Center police officer responsible for shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright was identified Monday evening as agitators surrounded the local police station for a second straight night.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, fired the fatal shot in Sunday’s incident. She is currently on administrative leave and a decision regarding her future with the Brooklyn Center Police Department is expected Tuesday.
Potter mistakenly drew her handgun instead of her Taser when Wright resisted arrest, according to partial body camera video released Monday.
The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee called the current National Guard deployment on Capitol Hill unwarranted.
Democratic Rep. Adam Smith and Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the committee’s respective chairman and ranking member, asked the Department of Defense to implement a “measured drawdown” of the guardsmen stationed at the Capitol in a joint statement Thursday.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly overruled a memo from the commanding general of the National Guard who objected to keeping troops in D.C., according to Fox News.
The memo, written by Gen. Daniel Hokanson, was disseminated among the White House National Security Council last week and cited concerns over the National Guard already being overburdened with coronavirus issues, civil disturbances and wildfires, according to a report from Fox News.
The Pentagon is reviewing a Capitol Police request for the National Guard to remain stationed at the US Capitol for an additional two months, citing concerns about security and potential violence, defense officials told the Associated Press.
The National Guard was stationed at the Capitol following the violent breach Jan. 6 where five people died, the AP reported. Law enforcement has remained on high alert at the Capitol since Thursday after intelligence operatives uncovered a “potential plot” by far-right militia groups to storm the building.
The Defense Department estimates the National Guard deployment at the Capitol through March 15 will cost nearly $483 million, in addition to $500 million it has already spent, Fox News reported Monday.
Approximately 26,000 National Guard troops from across the country were sent to Washington D.C. after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The number has gradually reduced, however there are still more than 7,000 troops guarding the Capitol building with plans to gradually decrease its presence through the end of March, to fewer than 3,000 troops, according to Fox News.
Thousands of National Guard troops protecting the Capitol Hill complex during inauguration week were temporarily forced Thursday night to leave the buildings, sparking outrage among the troops and Congress.
“Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot? They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a tweet, asked the two leaders of the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Several agencies are participating in the U.S. Secret Service’s security protections around the inauguration in Washington, D.C., including the FBI and Customs and Border Protection.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the National Guard will join the FBI and Customs and Border Protection to participate in security efforts surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. FBI officials are investigating a substantial number of “concerning” comments online about potential events on and leading up to inauguration day, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a briefing on Thursday.